Why Is It Called The Great War

When World War One was finally ended it was referred to by New Zealanders as the Great War. People did not call it WW1 at the time because they were not aware that there would be a second one. This numbering was only done retrospectively after WW2.

After WW1 many people believed it was the War to End All Wars. It was the largest conflict they had ever experienced. There was an unprecedented number of dead when it was finished. It was known as the Great War not just because of these casualties but also due to the huge changes it made in society.

It introduced new technological innovations to weapons and vehicles. Planes were used to do battle for the first time in WW1. Because of this nations had to improve designs of aircraft and create better flying vehicles.

There were new philosophical ideas that sprang up due to the conflict. There was a huge loss of life during 1914 – 1918. This was done in a way that seemingly devalued the individual importance of people. Therefore popular philosophy became more nihilistic and pessimistic.

Art also changed to reflect the nightmare landscapes of the Western Front. Many popular poets at the time served in the War. Their work was greatly influenced by the horrific things they experienced. Surrealism was created due to the experience of the war. Artists began to reject rationalism because they felt it was what led to such huge casualties.

The war also changed the way class and gender were viewed in society. Women were needed on a large scale to fill in the job roles left by men. This meant that women were able to take on employment in ways that they never could before. In New Zealand there was a pre war divide between the upper and lower classes. This was narrowed as men had to serve with each other regardless of their social standing.


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